twitter



Tweet Timing and Frequency: Best Practices


There’s a lot of research out there about what works on Twitter. Here’s a quick run-down on what I’ve turned up recently.

How often to tweet

Effect of tweet time on click-through rate

Tweet click-through rate is higher in afternoons and evenings (U.S. Eastern Time)"

According to Hubspot, Twitterers who tweet between 10 and 50 times a day have more followers on average than those that tweet more or less frequently. Such a large range should disabuse you of any notion that there are hard-and-fast rules in our business. But for those of you who need more specific advice, Hubspot does report the “peak” of the curve is at about 22 tweets per day.

When to Tweet

Research by renowned social media scientist Dan Zarrella indicates higher click-through rates on tweets made between 2:00 and 9:00 pm ET—excluding 6:00 to 7:00—and on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

How to Tweet

Dan Zarrella’s linguistic research also shows better results on tweets that:

What are your results?





FMC Wire: Malcolm Gladwell wins argument with self edition


Malcolm Gladwell speaks at PopTech

Malcolm Gladwell speaks at PopTech! Oh, the irony.

Friends and colleagues are furiously sending me the link to Tipping Point author, Malcolm Gladwell’s latest New Yorker piece, “Small Change: why the revolution will not be tweeted.” Throughout the article. the author compares and contrasts the high-risk activism of 1960s Civil Rights activists with that of contemporary individuals using online tools to complete low-risk activism.

Always an astute observer of the obvious, Gladwell slays the nonexistent voices who are insisting that social networks are all the organizing activists need these days. Save Darfur activists are not risking life and limb at Woolworth lunch counters, proving that Twitter has ruined activism.

This fact certainly has nothing to do with the reality that today’s activists are often campaigning on issues effecting people in far away lands, and direct action as opposed to consistent campaigning would make no sense.

The folly of Gladwell’s argument can be found in one paragraph, after he describes an email campaign started by a group of friends to find a bone marrow donor of South Asian descent for their ailing colleague:

The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960. “Social networks are particularly effective at increasing motivation,” Aaker and Smith write. But that’s not true. Social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.

Now look at that last sentence again, “Social networks are effective at increasing participation—by lessening the level of motivation that participation requires.” It is not the “Social network” that lessened the “level of motivation that participation requires,” it is the goal of the campaign. The goal of the campaign was to find a suitable bone marrow donor for their friend, not overturn segregation laws in the South. How does he know if those who signed up to the bone marrow registry would join the Woolworth’s protest or march in Selma? He does not know anymore than I do. Their willingness to take part in one campaign has no bearing on their willingness to take part in another, “high risk” activity. Nobody, not even us “Evangelists of social media,”  believe that “signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.” Taking part in low-risk activism through weak ties no more keeps people from taking part in high-risk activism, than the opposite. In other words, would the Greensboro activists not have sat at the lunch counter if they had given a dollar to the Salvation Army tin (low-risk) the day before? Allow me to inverse Gladwell’s own logic: The failure of the Greensboro students to donate an ounce of bone marrow proves that the kind of offline organizing practiced in the Civil Rights movement is ineffective.

Gladwell continues his attack by pointing out that  Save Darfur has a low level of giving to the campaign relative to its high number of Facebook fans. He does not take the time to understand that donations are not what the campaign calls for, or the situation requires. Save Darfur motivates citizens to demand political action from elected officials, it does not send aid to Darfur. Nor does it foolishly ask people to go to Darfur and clumsily act as human-shields. The fact that people are not doing that is not evidence of Facebook’s failings, but the campaign organizers’ strategy.

I received three emails yesterday from leading campaigning organizations. One from Save Darfur asked me to take 60 seconds and send a message to President Obama asking him to show leadership when heads of state meet to discuss Sudan in a few days. An email from Avaaz supported joining a Global Work Party as part of the 10:10:10 day of action (Over 6,000 events are scheduled in the scary real world…using online tools!). Finally, ONE thanked supporters for demanding Obama commit the needed money to the Global Fund. Over 85,000 took action. Yes, they did not put their lives on the line and sit in for days facing arrest or beating. This was not due to the existence of social networks, but because it would not have been an effective strategy. One could certainly argue that these campaigns could be more effective with high-risk direct action, but that is not an argument for or against social networks, but about the type of activism that has the most impact when dealing with geopolitical change movements.

I’m preparing a more coherent post on Gladwell’s oversimplification, but this edition of FMC Wire offers up a few links to refute Small Change, or at least get you and Malcolm thinking.

  • Cellphones role in activism in Africa is threatened
    CS Monitor examines how government investigators forced cell phone companies to shut off service in an effort to thwart protesters in Maputo.  Mobile phone penetration is greater than TV on the continent and a trend of blocking service could severely hamper activists across Africa. Thank, God mobile phones did not exist in the 60′s! Right, Malcolm?
  • Can Twitter lead people to the streets?
    Timothy B. Lee explains the difference between dedicated activists and the sympathetic populous needed for any movement to succeed. (Paying attention Prof. Gladwell?) Writing as part of a New York Times debate series, Lee notes that the advent of TV was what allowed the hardcore activists to be seen in action and the brutal conditions they faced understood by sympathetic Northerners who would rally to the cause — at varying levels of commitment of course. Lee slaps down Gladwell with this single paragraph:

    No social movement can succeed without activists willing to take serious risks for their cause. But other factors are also important. These include a critical mass of ordinary citizens who are at least sympathetic to, if not yet actively supportive of, the activist’s cause, and a strategy to reach and persuade as many of those citizens as possible. What makes the Internet revolutionary is not just that it makes it easier for activists to communicate with one another, but that it provides them with powerful new tools for informing and persuading their fellow citizens.

  • In China, even weak ties are crucial
    Michael Anti reminds us that there are places in the world, like China, where direct action is not an option and even the slightest movement of free information can threaten the government’s official line. While Anti does not mention other services, Gladwell shows his limited understanding of social media by sticking to Twitter and Facebook, but nearly 400 million Chinese are online and avidly use MSN Messenger and QQ for instant messaging. IM has opened up a whole new stream of communication and many users find ways to skirt the Great Firewall and communicate openly. Do these “weak ties” portend 400 million activists staring down tanks in Tienanmen Square: of course not. But Gladwell knows that information is power and online connections can bolster or create strong offline ties.
  • Gladwell on social media and activism
    Alexis Madrigal sees some value in Gladwell’s writing, but notices that he displays a fundamental misunderstanding of Twitter. Gladwell also makes the mistake of seeing “weak ties,” and “strong ties,” as polar opposites. In fact, the reality is that strong ties exist within large pools of weak ties. And Madrigal, like thousands of others has formed new strong connections through Twitter. The critical mass on Twitter gives users a new way to find kindred spirits and then actually meet up with them. Maybe not at the Woolworth’s lunch counter, but raising $1.2 million in a year is not so bad — Twestival anyone?Madrigal also takes issue with Gladwell’s determination that social networks are bad for organizing, because they are “networks,” and not, “hierarchies.” Several open source software platforms are developed by massive networks and a small steering group (Firefox, Linux, Drupal, Wikipedia). Gladwell states that the Montgomery Bus Boycott could not be organized by a “wiki-boycott.” I’m not sure exactly what Gladwell means, but ultimately he is simply stating that a wiki is the wrong organizing tool for a boycott or any type of major activism. Great. Now, who exactly is using a wiki for this purpose? It’s like arguing that a lawn mower is useless for cutting hair, therefore lawn mowers are overrated. Once again, Gladwell’s logic cuts through the argument nobody is making; he wins this round…against himself.




Tweeting and Blogging Double Business Leads, Says Study


Tweeting and blogging double business leads, reports Hubspot. In a recent study, the Internet marketing firm found that small and medium sized B2C businesses that used Twitter saw twice as many business leads as those that didn’t.

Tweets double business leads

Tweeting B2C businesses saw twice the number of leads as non-tweeting businesses. Chart credit: eMarketer

Blogging significantly increased business leads as well — for B2B and B2C businesses. Benefits begin once a blog has approximately 24-51 posts.

Both Twitter and blog posts increase the engagement with business’ customers, supporting the relationship with the business, keeping it in the front of their minds, and giving them a reason to come to the website.

In addition, each blog post represents an additional page for the major search engines to index, increasing the site’s search relevance and update frequency — i.e., improving the site’s search results placement. The more pages indexed on Google, the more business leads it generates. As eMarketer summarizes it, “Every 50 to 100 incremental indexed pages can mean double-digit lead growth.”





FMC Wire: Mobiles teach reading in Pakistan; Huffpo gets Twitter Editions; Twitter predicts real world outcomes


FMC Wire is our roundup of news and tips you (or we) might have missed. You can subscribe to the full FMC Wire feed on Google Buzz or Posterous.

Women’s literacy by mobile phone programme a success
UNESCO partnered with Pakistani provider Mobilink and a local NGO on this innovative project. The pilot worked with 250 adolescent women who were sent daily text messages in Urdu on an “interesting topic” and expected to respond. Testing of the women graded the majority (57%) at a “C” level or below on A,B,C,D,F scale at the beginning of the project. By the end of the 5 month pilot 60% had improved to an “A” level. UNESCO is funding expansion of the project to include an additional 1,250 girls in rural areas of Punjab.

Huffington Post launches Twitter Editions
[blippr]Huffington Post[/blippr], one of the world’s most popular news sites (is it really a “blog?”) continued their aggressive foray into social media by launching “Twitter Editions.” The Twitter editions contain featured posts across the top and [blippr]Twitter[/blippr] lists within widgets in the main columns. This is a spin off of a function Huffpo has used for major news stories like the Haiti earthquake. I think it works well in those situations, but I’m not seeing much added value here. I suppose Huffpo wants to pull your social media presence and “likes” onto the site to increase user time. The Huffpo Impact Twitter Edition (nonprofit activism vertical) includes listings of interesting philanthropy related Tweeps and “Global Nonprofits” curated by Huffpo editors. Like Huffington Post’s take on it or not, curating Twitter lists has become a key aspect of news gathering and press officers should take note.

  • Twitter predicts movie box office take — Researchers in the Social Computing Lab at HP Labs analyzed millions of tweets and accurately predicted box office rceipts of Invictus, Avatar, The Blind Side and Twilight. What else can Twitter predict? (via RB)
  • Facebook replaces “Become a fan” with “Like” — Blaming language for poor conversion rates, Facebook will start asking users if they “Like” a brand instead of asking them to “Become a fan.” Users become fans of four pages on average each month, but click “like” multiple times each day. Facebook doesn’t mention the fact that users are “liking” a friends status update or picture. I predict FB outrage when users discover that declaring they “Like” Monster Energy drink turns them into a permanent fan.
  • Google buys Episodic video platform — That YouTube Live feature never really got off the ground so Google has bought Episodic, a startup specializing in live video. Episodic is more advertiser friendly then Google’s other video property. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some synergy between this buy and Google’s efforts to move onto TV sets.
  • Cesca declares war on Glenn Beck — Not content to ignore Beck as a dancing monkey, Huffington Post’s Bob Cesca delcared his intentions to expose Glenn Beck as a huckster playing the part of radical Conservative. Beck’s attack on Obama’s “Red” grandparents was Cesca’s Pearl Harbor. Beck’s Waterloo? Every time he opens his mouth.

Have a link to share or tip for FMC? E-mail us at fmcblog (at) gmail





Social Media stars unite to end malaria


DailyBooth.com founder Jon Wheatly encouraged his users to take up the "End Malaria" mantle by posting self-pics

While his Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams and the rest of the South by Southwest Interactive crowds were bouncing between dueling Foursquare, Twitter, Mashable and StumbleUpon parties last night, Biz Stone was announcing his membership in the UN’s “Social Media Envoy” — through a tweet of course.

Today, United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, announced the formation of a Social Media Envoy group chartered with inspiring and activating social media audiences throughout the year in support of malaria control. The Social Media Envoys are dedicated to utilizing their social profile to keep online and offline media audiences focused on the movement, milestones and resources required to achieve the Secretary-General’s goal of providing all endemic African countries with malaria control interventions by the end of 2010.

The group includes a predictable list of Social Media queens and kings including Mashable’s, Pete Cashmore; Arianna Huffington; Alyssa Milano; Ryan Seacrest; and Sarah Brown, wife of UK Prime Minister and maternal health activist. The full list is below. Noticeably absent from the launch group is, Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) the man who revolutionized the use of Twitter for a good cause in his race to 1 million followers against CNN. Larry King is on the list. However, Kutcher has been tweeting under the #socialmediaenvoy tag and I’m sure he will officially join the Social Media Envoys for their April 25th launch. The group has pledged to take at least one Social Media action in support of ending malaria each month for a year.

In case Twitter’s dominance was in doubt, every Envoy member is listed with a link to their Twitter profile with the exception of Facebook’s Randi Zuckerberg. She naturally links to her infrequently updated (by comaprison to the twitterati) Facebook page.

While the announcement timing coincdied with SXSWi, I’ve seen no sign of the Social Media Envoy here in Austin. In fact, unlisted member Ashton, is the only one I’ve seen running around SXSW tweeting it and talking it up. Evan Williams (@ev) didn’t mention the program during his keynote today…in fact, he didn’t even give his buddy Biz (@biz) a ReTweet! I guess it’s up to us, and Ashton.

RT @biz Malaria is a devastating disease—together we can help! http://bit.ly/cpcqhb #socialmediaenvoy

The Future Starts, erm…Everywhere.

The 2010 Social Media Envoys include:




Forget Email, Facebook Is Where People Share Content


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AddtoAny reports twice as many shares to Facebook over E-mail

This is some interesting info that popped across my Google Reader. The abundance and ease of use of “share tools” mean that social networks are rivaling email as content sharing platforms. Interestingly, lags.

5 Billion

pieces of content were shared on Facebook per week during February, according to data released by the company.  This is up big from 2 billion per week only five months ago in September 2009.

A study released by content-sharing widget AddToAny indicates Facebook is sharing twice as much content as email currently. However, a separate study by rival ShareThis showed Facebook still a little behind email, with about 30% less content being shared. Taken together, Facebook is just as powerful a content-sharing platform as email. (Twitter is well behind both, but rising.)

Source: Facebook

via Silicon Alley Insider.

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